||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia. (May 2013)|
An Impressum (Latin "printed", from imprimĕre "to print") is the term given to a legally mandated statement of the ownership and authorship of a document, which must be included in books, newspapers, magazines and websites published in Germany and certain other German-speaking countries, such as Austria and Switzerland.
There is no equivalent legislation in English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States, and therefore no consistent legal term is used in English-language media. The closest English terms for Impressum are:
- Masthead: for newspapers and magazines, a list, usually found on the editorial page, of the members of its board.
- Colophon: for books, a note indicating metadata about the book such as the date of publication, printer and publisher.
- Imprint: Under the UK Printer's Imprint Act 1961, which amended the earlier Newspapers, Printers, and Reading Rooms Repeal Act 1869, any printer must put their name and address on the first or last leaf of every paper or book they print or face a penalty of up to £50 per copy. In addition, under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, any election material - including websites - must show the name of the promoter of the material and the name and address of the person on whose behalf it is being published.
None of these terms is an exact replacement in all contexts. The terms "masthead" and "colophon" apply to printed publications only and are not commonly used on English-language websites, while "site notice" is website-specific and "legal notice" or "legal disclosure" are rarely found in printed works. An "imprint" in publishing may also mean a brand name under which a work is published, and so may not be understood to mean an Impressum.
The Telemediengesetz ("Telemedia Act") requires that German websites must disclose information about the publisher, including their name and address, telephone number or e-mail address, trade registry number, VAT number, and other information depending on the type of company. German websites are defined as being published by individuals or organisations that are based in Germany, so an Impressum is required regardless of whether a site is in the .de domain.
This law has created privacy concerns for individuals who maintain blogs or personal homepages. The law has also caused lawyers to scrutinise websites for this information and send cease-and-desist letters to their maintainers in case it is missing.
- Duden: "(Buchw.): Vermerk über Verleger, Drucker, auch Redaktionen u.a. in Büchern, Zeitungen u. Zeitschriften"
- British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF): Imprint Requirements (doc)
-  "In the publishing world, the term imprint usually means the name under which a publisher issues books. For example, you may come across a statement such as "Copernicus Books is an imprint of Springer-Verlag."
-  TMG § 5 Allgemeine Informationspflichten